AUTOMATION AND COMPUTER-BASED TECHNOLOGY FOR SMALL VEGETABLE FARM HOLDERS
Published in Scientific Papers. Series A. Agronomy, Vol. LVII
Written by Cristian IACOMI, Ioan ROȘCA, Roxana MADJAR, Beatrice IACOMI, Viorel POPESCU, Gaudențiu VĂRZARU, Cătălin SFETCU
The present paper relates a method of computer controlled irrigation/ fertigation/ chemigation which : a.) optimizes water/ nutrients/ pesticides inputs and protects natural resources (water, soil and soil nutrients), b.) uses the correct rates of nutrients and water for plants, being essential not only for the improvement of irrigation system but also for reducing inputs costs and increasing crop yield. The concept of this research is to save water and to apply fertilisers and pesticides responsibly – based on an intelligent and interactive control system for effective irrigation/fertigation and chemigation scheduling. It will be easy to use and reliable for small and medium vegetable farms (2 ha or less) which dominate the vegetables market in Romania. The connexion with precision agriculture and variable rate technology is direct and strong. The use of electronics in fertigation/chemigation process brings many benefits due to its accuracy, powerful calculation software and automation. Electronics is involved in the detection of the environment parameters (humidity, temperature, in soil and in the air, wind direction, rain sensors, clouds detection, colour of the plant leaves), in the management of the inputs (water level control, mixing the fertigants), system control (pressure control, cleaning of the tanks) and data processing (data storage, computation, data reports, real-time clock). The electronic equipment of the automated interactive system for the optimisation of water, nutrients and pesticides inputs contains a central processing unit, a data acquisition unit and a driving unit mounted together on a mobile platform (tractor or car driven) comprising various tanks for water, fertilizers, pesticides, associated with automation elements which makes this unit an independent and flexible one. The connection with water supply and electricity is also provided.